I was on a table practicing and Johnny Ross (a notorious pool hustler) came up to me and motioned me over to the side. He leaned over with his hand over his mouth like a used car salesman getting ready to offer me "the deal of the century."
"We got a game for you tonight!" Johnny whispered, "with a guy named Cletus....it's playing one pocket, but the guy plays like old people Fuque!.....we'll (the local corporation) stake you and give you 30%, but he'll bet really high, we may win 30 to 40k!"
"30%, wtf, you got to be kidding, I won't play for less than 40%"
"That's the deal, sh*t the fu*%in house takes 10% - take it or leave it, it's sure action...., but there's one "catch".....you gotta talk really nasty to this sick freak or he won't want to gamble with you."
"So let me get this straight, I gotta play for 30% AND talk nasty to this guy, what kind of demented f*c%in joke is this, Johnny?"
Just then the front door was opened (you had to get "buzzed" in) - in walks a Huge, unshaven man that looked just like Brutus in the Popeye comics.
He looked around glaring at the room, with a twisted smile trying to form under his three day stubbly beard. This guy looked like the poster guy for a prison movie.... Shaw-shank Perversion' or something like that.
"That's him, do you want to play or not?" Johnny's raspy voice sent shivers down my spine, or maybe it was the thought of tongue-lashing Brutus...I mean Cletus.
"Ok, what the heck do I say to this sicko?" the was the most awkward I'd felt before matching up with anyone in my life.
"Come on, just follow my lead"....I followed Johnny Ross over to where Brutus....I mean Cletus was standing. Johnny marched up to him and snapped In a condescending tone -
"what are you doing in here you sleezy piece of sh%* I thought the trash came in and out of the back door".!! .....
Cletus looked at Johnny menacingly, then broke into a big grin. "Johnny Ross, my favorite cell mate, hope you brought plenty of lube .....if we're going to cross swords tonight sweetie".
Johnny barked "I got a little kid that'll play your sorry ass some one hole"....nodding at me....I pointed my cue and said "yeah, you dirty fuquin sleeezbag...I got something for you that Ajax won't take off!!"
I pulled it off, my heart was pounding under my leather jacket. I"m not sure what else I said, I'm glad, in my line of work you had to act spontaneously, adapting to any situation....
Cletus looked at me and Growled...
"I dated a 16 year old girl for 3 years just to screw her younger brother, and he looked just like you!!
He licked his lips and grinned ear to ear!
I tried not to put any images to his words, but the important thing was I KNEW he would play me now. Johnny gave me the "it's george" sign and the game was on.
And play me he did, I gave him 9/4 and his scratches don't count for $900 a game playing one pocket pool, $18,000 later he looked like the blood had been drained out of him.
They gave me my $5000 ( the time was $1800, they didn't charge by the hour, with guys like Cletus they took 10% for the "house") that's the most I've ever been charged for pool time.
But when you're betting thousands against a guy like Cletus it really didn't matter, it was just a "cost of doing business".
They walked Cletus out the door and safely to his car (he still had 20k+ in ca$h).
I ask Johnny "I wonder where he's going now?"
Johnny, without hesitation smirked..."he'll go hire a LIMO and three hookers - they'll drive him around Detroit, handcuffed, like he's been kidnapped, one will have a gun to his head - other two will be whipping him and calling him every filthy name they can think of"
......"and I imagine Cletus will be like a fat kid in a candy store," I whispered under my breath, shaking my head in disbelief.....
.....just another day at the office for Brutus - I mean Cletus - the sleaziest pool sucker on earth, that gambled for tens of thousands of dollars at a Game called pool.
I never would have believed it if I hadn't been there and seen it with my own eyes....what a world..... me still a teenager, there were many bizarre adventures to come!
I felt a little bit guilty at the end of that long day beating perverted ole Cletus out of that 18k....NOT!! ----I was Pumped up with $6400 and ready to "play anyone at the Rack for all they could Stack"...well, within reason, there were stacks there Superman couldn't jump over!
The Game is the Teacher